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Ford exec rings alarm bell on EV charging and battery raw materials challenges

Rouge Electric Vehicle Center. Credit: Ford

Ford Motor Co. chief electrification officer Doug Field shared some of his thoughts on potential bottlenecks that could be faced by electric vehicles today. According to Field, some of these constraints are inadequate charging networks and the limited availability of battery raw materials.

Field shared his comments at an EV conference in London. “Infrastructure is the biggest thing that really has to be nailed for widespread adoption. A lot of coordination is going to be required to get the right levels of compatibility, capability, reliability in that charging network, so people just don’t have to worry about it,” Field said.

Considering these potential constraints, Field stated that a good way to go around these challenges would be to adopt a vertically-integrated strategy. Field currently serves as the chief advanced product development and technology officer for Ford’s Model e division. He was also previously an executive at electric vehicle leader Tesla, a company known for its serious efforts at vertical integration.

“The companies that go very, very far upstream, capture the materials years ahead of time, lock them up and build a clear strategy around the battery supply chain will win. This type of change is going to push companies to vertically integrate in ways that they haven’t been used to in many, many decades,” Field said, according to a Reuters report.

During his talk, Field also teased a vision for Ford’s future vehicles, some of which would be able to do “things your phone can’t do.” These include an immersive augmented reality experience while the vehicle is operating. Ford is also actively working on developing hands-free driving or “conditional autonomy,” as well as a more sophisticated user interface, according to the executive. These, together with the company’s other innovations, would allow Ford users to have an “experience that will blow people away and make them feel like they’re in a science fiction movie.”

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Ford exec rings alarm bell on EV charging and battery raw materials challenges
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